Gary Barnett, SVP and GM, Collaboration Platforms, Avaya, wants to dominate the UC space.
CW: Avaya's approach of offering low-bandwidth, multi-point video conferencing runs contrary to the traditional models provided by Cisco. Is this a conscious decision?
Barnett: A major issue in the past was that video required large amounts of bandwidth. Our acquisition of Radvision was important to help the industry shift from being primarily high bandwidth to offering low-bandwidth-HD devices. Avaya's data networking paired with low-bandwidth-HD video provides an entire stack that includes routers and switching with Aura as core and Radvision for video.
CW: But the video conferencing market has not exploded as expected, especially in India. Are you looking at video conferencing-as-a-service to boost the market?
Barnett: We have a hosted deployment model, and a capex vs. opex model for video. It can also be on-premise. We have moved the industry mindset from being exclusively room-based to a highly mobile-based technology. Video conferencing is no longer about 20 people sitting around a table talking to 10 others on another side. It's now about different people talking to each other through various devices from different locations.
CW: The rise in service-oriented purchasing and a move towards hosted offerings are expected to drive the UC industry this year. Is Avaya prepared for this?
Barnett: We look at it as a two-by-two matrix. Companies are weighing capex vs. opex, which can be completely independent of the deployment. As we talk to CIOs and CEOs we see a definite shift from capex to opex. The fastest growing space is AOS (Avaya Operations Services) which is our managed services business unit. CIOs are meticulous about what they want hosted versus. what they want to see on-premise. Over time we will see more emphasis on the hosted model, though it will not happen overnight as some applications still can't be hosted. We cover all quadrants--hosted and non-hosted, and a pricing model that is based on capex or opex. But the trend is heading towards an opex-hosted model. The business model will be hybrid, and very purpose driven--rather than being based on cost.
CW: With the acquisition of Radvision, Avaya announced enhancements to the Aura and Flare UC platforms. Has Flare finally managed to become a de facto for BYOD across enterprises?
Barnett: We are no longer seen as a company that puts great phones on desktops but as a secure communications company which provides great contact center (CC) solutions to customers. Flare is targeted at desktops and iPads and the one-X product line for iPad mini type of devices. We have enterprise customers using Flare on iPads and desktops, and one-X on iPhones and Android based devices. The customer gets three benefits: A common experience, support for different devices, and industrial strength applications. If I am communicating with a customer on an iPad it has to be of high quality and reliable. Flare takes a very complex set of user interactions and makes it intuitive which is important for BYOD communications. CIOs are definitely seeing us very differently. For every phone we sell, we add at least two to three licenses for BYOD.
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